Monday, June 27, 2005


Following some advice form Lexifab, and Anotherblog (and another etc..), I am starting a new line in trendy young person's shirts with witty quips. Just to start with, I'm just going to put them straight up onto Ebay, and let the market set the price. I have just put in the order to print 5 polos with "May Contain Traces of Buddha nature", which, with luck should be ready within a week. They are 3 size Large and 2 size XLarge. If there are any particular size requests I will put them in the next order.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why Unfair dismissal laws increase unemployment

I have been asked "How in God's green Earth would removing the protection against unfair dismissals possibly reduce unemployment?", by left leaning family members. What counts, to me is not the logic, but that it is statistically verifiable, which it is. The logic is that employers, not having perfect information, don't know exactly the level of employees they should have to make the most money. If they 1) underestimate, they may lose significant opportunities due to lack of staff. If they 2) overestimate, they will lose money due to having redundant employees on their payroll. Given that they are very unlikely to actually make a loss choosing 1), and that terminations are quite expensive anyway, the added fear of an unfair dismissal lawsuit is the clinching factor making employers invest in capital over investing in extra staff. A followup question is "Why are employers afraid?" implying that it is only "unfair" dismissals which warrant payouts and that employers are allowed to dismiss where it is fair to do so. The real problem is that the burden of proof is entirely on the employer: legal precedents usually favour the employee, and particular test cases scare the death out of even me. However, as an employer, therefore, it is an advantage for our business for there to be unfair dismissal protections. This is because all our competitors are disproportionately conservative, giving us real opportunities for growth. There are also a reasonable number of qualified unemployed, with other employers being this cautious. However, as a citizen of this country, it is a disadvantage to have such protections. Having overly cautious employers puts our whole country at a competitive disadvantage, and increases unemployment.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ebay good - Happy tenth birthday

I am selling this on ebay Posted by Hello

Click on this link here to place a bid - come on, I dare you to!

This is a spare rugby jersey manufactured in Townsville, Australia. It is made from very tough Polyester cotton blend used for players of Rugby union. The colours are knitted stripes of Dark blue, mid blue and white. It was made originally for seniors of Pimlico State High School and has their school logo embroidered on the left breast. It is a size XL (Cueldee sizing 22) and is designed to be worn as a jumper over other clothing. It has long sleeves with knitted rib cuffs. The collar is made from cotton drill.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I'm a Rice Expert, Apparently

Ever since I read a background to some "Study of Rice Starch Structure" research at UNE, I have been extremely sensitive to the type of rice that is used for various home cooking dishes. I will no longer tolerate long grain rice in my risotto (nor my rice pudding for that matter); I will complain at arborio rice being used in fried rice etc. etc. Today, I was asked (because apparently I am now a rice authority) if one should wash the rice before or after cooking. Quite clearly the answer is that one should do neither. The whole point of cooking it in the first place is to kill any remaining organisms in it, and otherwise make it edible and delicious.
The result of my oversensitivity to rice type usage is that whenever I eat a dish with rice in it that someone else has prepared, everyone looks expectantly at me for a reaction.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Australia and Nuclear power

I feel compelled to talk about this issue because for some reason this entry regarding the subject is the one that had been cached by Google. The issue had also been raised (perhaps half jokingly) by Dr. Clam as a possibly left wing assertion that we should build lots of Nuclear reactors to avoid the horrible environmental desecration of our environment by Hydro-electric schemes. Of course the failure of the Gordon/Franklin Hydro power project back in the eighties completely convinced me that the environmental movement and their casual supporters had lost all sense of priority.

As far as it goes, Australia is already the worlds largest supplier, and has the worlds largest reserves of Uranium. Now I don’t think that Uranium can be treated like any other mineral, in the sense that we should allow for the fact that it is an important ingredient in making the worst weapons imaginable. However most of the consumption of Uranium has to be assumed to be for electricity generation. The Uranium that goes into making bombs will hopefully never be used, such that it can be a nuisance for the stupid country that thought it was a good idea to have these weapons lying around for “deterrence”. The reality is that much less a deterrent than an encouragement for an enemy country to use theirs against you, or organise a nasty accident with your own using a few suicide agents. Like buying guns for protection (statistics show that they are a hundred times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder), nuclear weapons are only good for risking ones own citizens.

It would seem silly to start generating loads of electricity using Uranium when prices are at an all time high, so I don’t see any reason to build lots of them. It would be a shame to waste the fact that we’ve got so much of the stuff, however. If only we could show the rest of the world really responsible ways to use Uranium as a resource! I think we should import a huge amount of nuclear expertise from USA, add in a large dollop of our own research, and develop a prototype nuclear electricity generator. It would be failsafe, could not be used for bomb making, and include a full lifecycle disposal system so that the end products could be buried and be no worse for the environment than the stuff that was dug up in the first place. I believe that technology (in this case) can come up with a clean, green and economical (when including the full lifecycle) electricity generation system. Once this technology is perfected, we could be exporting the design of the system. Hopefully, technology could find a way to export the Uranium such that it could only be used in these kinds of generators, and could not be made weapons useable.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What we agreed upon - what we didn't.

Not having heard from Dr. Clam for a long time, and nevertheless changing my mission statement, I have decided to summarise a few conclusions boldly about abortion.

* Although we believe in an absolute good & evil, any action should be considered in the context of the various options at hand.
* As humans we should think of all killing as essentially evil.
* By any reasonable scientific definition of life, the typical abortion is killing.
* The future looks hopeful, in that we agree there is hope in a future where abortion is rare.
* We strive, in everything that we have influence on, to strive for the aformentioned hope, in various ways we both mentioned.

We also vaguely agreed on the following:
* Prohibition in this country or USA however it is implemented would at first greatly reduce overall abortion numbers, but make them much harder to measure, and we would have to assume a certain level of illegal abortions.
* There is a great democratic resistance (presently) towards even minor restrictions on abortion, especially in Aus, but to some extent also in USA.
* There are costs (short term and long term) with prohibition - hard to calculate, easy to argue about. The benefits of prohibition flow mainly to the individuals involved whose lives are "saved".
* We have both brought up the analysis of costs and benefits overall as a guide to specific policy, but could not agree on a baseline to make rough judgements that could be agreed upon case by case. e.g. What level of disability is insufferable or too expensive to keep alive.

These things we disagreed upon:
* The technologies that would make abortion rare: I believe that better contraception, education etc. and other factors mentioned at this link, for instance:
Making Abortion Rare will tip the balance.
* Dr. Clam believes womb replacement technologies will make abortion obsolete.
* I believe womb replacement technologies, even if they become available will not in themselves affect abortion rates *at all*
* Dr. Clam cited Demographic movement of immigrants from populations where abortion is rare/illegal as a hope for the future.
* I believe that, since immigrants tend to be relatively poorer than the rest of the population, economic pressures to abort will be higher for them, therefore it is likely their abortion rates won't be much different.

Monday, June 06, 2005

New Mission Statement

To account for my changing priorities in this blog, I changed my mission statement as you can see. It might seem at a minimum optimistic/ambitious/kidding myself, but I believe that ideas disseminated on the web can change the world - especially original ideas. And an easy way to check if a train of thought or idea is original, just Google it (or Yahoo, whatever) first.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Schapelle Corby redirect

This link is where I'm posting further comments regarding Schapelle, because a greater number of people are stating their opinions there.